211 phone service to launch in Merced

Residents in Merced and Mariposa counties will have access to a database of human service resources by simply dialing 211. The program is scheduled to launch in October. Assistance through 211 will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and in 150 languages.


App review: Mature teens will enjoy popular sim game

Parents need to know that Fallout Shelter is a spin-off of the Fallout video game series, which is rated M for mature and not recommended for kids due to gory violence. This simulation app is tamer, but it does contain some cartoon-like violence including some death and lots of weapons. There's also implied sex: Dwellers work specific jobs in the underground vault, and if a male and female dweller are alone in the living space for a few minutes, flirting ensues and the female gets pregnant. During the act, the dwellers are hidden behind a bedroom wall, and kids will only see several smiley faces before the couple emerges, one with a big belly. It's integral to the game because that's one of the ways to increase the population. One of the rooms that can be built when play advances is a lounge or bar, so there is some drinking, and there are references early in play to wanting a beer. The app does contain in-app purchases to buy lunch boxes filled with special cards but is totally playable without them.


Game review: Treasure trove of classics spans decades in 'Rare Replay'

Parents need to know that "Rare Replay" is a collection of 30 games spanning 30 years of a development studio. The age-appropriateness of these games vary wildly. There are some family-friendly arcade and racing games, but there are also first- and third-person shooters, and fighting games. Players can kill enemies with guns and other weapons, and there's blood and some gore (in one game). While it appears to be a cute cartoon character, one game called "Conker's Bad Fur Day" contains strong violence, sexual references, profanity, and alcohol consumption.


Skyler: Musings on an overly photographed life

I didn't take a photo of my daughter this morning before I dropped her off to begin seventh grade. It wasn't really a conscious decision. We had to leave pretty early, and I spilled a smoothie on the corner of my husband's keyboard, which set us back a bit, and we were both generally worried about making it to school on time. Also, it seems indecent to take a photo before 7 a.m. somehow. So, no photo.

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